This picture makes me think of Easter. Eggs in the pasta flour.
Straining the mushroom stock, picked on my trek to the Withnail and I cottage in Cumbria.
A mix of Portobello (brought from Portobello rd hehe), button and oyster mushrooms.
Chopping onions, melting them in butter
Adding equal parts double cream and milk for a frothy onion capuccino
The production line of ravioli, sealing the parcels with egg.
Laying out the ravioli to dry, some even on the Aga!
Chopping up the basil for the garnish, freshening up the wilted basil with ice.
The final plate, fresh ravioli stuffed with a mix of mushrooms, onion capuccino sauce. Created by Charlie Nelson.
Rocket salad, 50p a bunch at Portobello. Salmon smeared with blackened seasoning, in a pouch of olive and walnut oil, white wine.
Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits plays 'Rocket Man' on the piano
Last night, my parents came to the Underground Restaurant for the first time.
"Who else is coming?" asked my mum.
"Amongst others, four of Britain's top food bloggers," I say.
"What are their names?" she asks.
"Cheese n Biscuits, Eat like a girl, Hollow legs and Food Stories."
"What imaginative parents they have!" quipped my mum.
Charlie and I spent all day making the ravioli. It's a meditative process, the ritual of kneading the egg yellow dough, feeding the tongue of pasta through the machine again and again, each time on a narrower notch, laying out the strips, a production line of little dollops of mushroom mixture sealed by egg into parcels. For the recipe read his blog post here.
I was chatting to Charlie about one of my guests for next weeks' astrology and food night, the renowned astrologer and psychic Jessica Adams. Jessica told me a few weeks ago that my great-grandmother is helping me with the Underground Restaurant. As she spoke I started to get goosebumps.
"Can you feel that?" she said, squinting at me.
"Yes," I replied, amazed, a spooky mix of disturb and comfort.
As I recounted this incident to Charlie, the same feeling happened, I felt a tingle, a shiver. I looked at Charlie and he, a sensible and down to earth young man, said:
"I'm coming out in goose pimples, look at my arms!"
Very weird. As if her spirit passed through the kitchen.
One guest was vegan. The last few weeks have had almost entirely vegan menus. But I felt like making fish for tonight. Despite my atheism, unconsciously I do link Spring to Easter and Christianity, although the word Easter and the tradition of Easter eggs is pre-Christian, from Babylon. The symbol for Christianity is fish, Pisces. For my vegan guest I replaced the salmon with smoked tofu and seed burger. We made a special portion of vegan, no egg, pasta and used soy cream for the sauce (the onions did not melt properly in vegan margarine however). I made a vegan chocolate mousse with Green & Blacks' Mayan Gold. As Eat like a Girl remarked, it tasted like Fry's Chocolate Cream.
My teen and her friend the lycée bomb hoaxer waitressed. My parents sat with her parents and their 10 year old daughter, who was tucked up into my bed when she got tired. (File under 'yet another difference between normal restaurants and home restaurants'.)